Monday, December 20, 2010

Roast the Perfect Chicken... everytime!

I love crispy chicken skin right out of the oven. Odd, sometimes, how hard it is to get a flavorful, moist chicken with crispy skin. To get the best tasting chicken, take a stick of butter and mix in fresh herbs, like rosemary, thyme, garlic or some herb combination of choice). Rub on the chicken and put at least half of the butter mixture under the breast skin. So delicious! But no crispy skin.

Katie is great at finding recipes. She found one for making a perfectly perfect roast chicken. We even had all the ingredients!

Perfectly Roasted Chicken
1 Chicken
1-1.5 Tbs. Sea Salt

  1. Preheat the oven to desired temperature*
  2. Grab a towel (dish, bath, rag... as long as it's clean!). Pat the chicken dry, including the inside.
  3. Place chicken in a pan. Sprinkle salt over the bird and rub it in. 
  4. Slide pan into oven and bake. Remove when the skin looks golden brown.
  5. Serve with your desired side dishes and enjoy!
*: Approximate times
400* for 40-50 minutes
375* for 50-65 minutes
350* for 60-75 minutes

Sometimes, the chickens don't make it to the table with all the skin. Especially if the chicken is ready and the side dishes aren't!  You can also use this recipe for a cut-up chicken. I would suggest turning the oven to a higher temp (450*) for the last ten minutes.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Hummus -- with a side of history

Hummus is a Levantine Arab dish... Levant was originally applied to the "Mediterranean lands east of Italy", from the Middle French word Levant meaning "the Orient". Did you know that the full Arabic name for hummus is ḥummuṣ bi ṭaḥīna which means chickpeas with tahini? Wikipedia is wonderful for finding out new things.

Hummus was not a favorite dish of mine when I was little. Funny how things change. Becca told me today, while I was mixing up a batch, that she didn't like hummus. She prefers candied dates (hot coconut oil and dates, ground up).
One of our favorite ways to eat hummus, is spread on rice cakes and topped with a slice of fresh tomato. Yum!
2 c. Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans, dried
5 c. Water
1/3 c. Olive Oil
5-6 cloves Garlic, peeled (may want to use less if you don't like spicy)
1 Tbs. Sesame Tahini
1-2 tsp. Sea Salt

  1. Choose your method of cooking*. Remember, when you choose your pot that the chickpeas will double in size. As they expand, they will get softer. When they mash easily they're done.
  2. Drain the cooking liquid off. Add olive oil, garlic, sesame tahini and sea salt. Mix well.
  3. Grind small batches in your food processor. Pour into a container and refrigerate.

*You have two choices for cooking chickpeas. On the stove(45-60 min) or in the crock pot (on high: 3-4 hrs). If you cook on the stove, you will need to stir often and add more water as needed. If you use the crock pot, it's more of a dump and forget it method.

How do you make hummus? What do you add or change?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Chocolate Cupcakes

I remember hearing, growing up, that gluten-free baked goods were very dense and so dry. Now that we are gluten-free, I'm learning that doesn't have to be true. It's true, however, that the first couple times we made these chocolate cupcakes, they were rather dry and tasted heavily of stevia. Stevia is great... in moderation.

Elana's Pantry has a recipe for chocolate cupcakes that Katie adapted to use ingredients we had on hand and to meet our limitations since we don't use agave nector. When I made it, sometimes it turned out moist and other times very dry. I suspected it was because I didn't always measure the coconut oil. I read the recipe more carefully this last time and noticed that Elana has more liquid in her recipe than we have in ours. I wondered if adding more oil would make a difference. It did. This last batch seemed, to our regular cupcake deprived minds, to taste very close to their gluten containing counterparts.

I Can't Believe It's A Pork-Free Chocolate Cake/Cupcakes*
1/4 c. Coconut Flour
1/4 c. Cocoa Powder
1/4 tsp. Sea Salt
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda, slightly mounded
3 Eggs
1/2 c. Coconut Oil
6 Medjool Dates, pitted
3/8 tsp. Stevia

  1. In a medium bowl, combine coconut flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda.
  2. Blend (or juice) dates and coconut oil together and set aside.Taste the darker portions of dates :*)...
  3. In a large bowl, whip eggs and slowly drizzle in coconut oil from date/coconut oil mixture till fluffy.
  4. Add dates to the eggs and coconut oil and mix well.
  5. Blend dry ingredients into wet thoroughly.
  6. Line a cupcake tin with paper liners and scoop a scant 1/3 cup into each liner.To make a cake, grease your pan with coconut oil.
  7. Bake at 375* (time will vary, see below)
  8. Cool, serve and enjoy!
Makes approximately 10 cupcakes
    Cupcakes: 20-22 minutes.  9x13(double batch): 28 minutes. Mini Cupcakes: 15 minutes
      This recipe doubles, triples and quadruples easily for our family of 8. A quadruple batch makes 1- 9x13 pan and 4 dozen mini thumbprint cupcakes.

    For a special treat, you can make thumbprint cupcakes. I used mini cupcakes, since most of them are for our Christmas Eve dinner. Drop a heaped teaspoon of dough into your paper liners. Dip your thumb in water for each one and make a thumbprint. Add 1/2 tsp. of fruit sweetened jam (St. Dalfour has great jams, spreads and jellies that are fruit sweetened) and place in the oven... When they come out, taste-test one right away. After all, it's a cook's privilege!

    ♥ Hannah ♥
     *: In honor of Mr. Bill... see below for why.
    Stephanie Skelly: Hannah is working on a gluten/grain-free, dairy free, processed sweetener-free, (pork-free ;*)) chocolate cake for dessert tonight. Looks (and smells) so nummy... Can't wait for her to post the recipe and photos. :*) 
    Bill Ruck: How can you even think about making a pork-free chocolate cake?! It just won't taste right I tell you.